Azarenka beats Stosur to reach Rome semis, Sharapova pulls out

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The night match on centre court at the Internazionali BNL Italia between 3rd seeded Victoria Azarenka and 9th seeded Samantha Stosur was the last of the quarter final matches to be played, as 2nd seeded Maria Sharapova pulled out of the tournament with a viral illness. She was to have played the home favourite, Sara Errani, in a rematch of last year’s French Open final, so the Italian is through to the semis where she will take on 3rd seed Victoria Azarenka for a place in the final.

It took exactly two hours for Azarenka to finally take the match against Stosur. The Aussie had two easy matches in the first rounds, but a very up and down third round match against Petra Kvitova, which she won in three. Her famed serve has not been working all the way through this tournament, with very few aces and lots of double faults. Azarenka had a bye in the first round, an easy second round and a retirement in the third round, so she had not spent much time on court. It was Stosur who got the first break in the closely fought first set, but Azarenka broke back and went on to take the set 6-4. She completely lost the plot in the second set, allowing the Aussie to run away with it 6-1. Stosur broke in the very first game of the decider, but the Belarusian fought strongly to come back and she allowed Stosur just two more games before wrapping up the set 6-3.

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